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November 23 2020 10.23pm

ZAHA deal shows the club is going places

August 24 2018

Wilfried Zaha

Wilfried Zaha

Roy Hodgson has barely put a foot wrong since joining Crystal Palace last season, and tying WILFRIED ZAHA down to a longer contract is his best move yet, writes Paul Watson.

The skilful forward has just signed a WILFRIED-ZAHA-new-contract-crystal-palace-news-latest-deal-five-years-transfer-summer-a8492361.html"target=_blank>new five-year contract at the club, and this is a sign that the Eagles are going places.

Without doubt the best player at Selhurst Park, there has been a lot of interest in ZAHA from top clubs in recent times. In fact, title hopefuls Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur have both expressed a keen desire to sign the player.

The fact that ZAHA has decided to stay with Palace instead of joining one of the “big boys” is huge. It shows that he believes great things are about to happen at Selhurst Park under Hodgson, and he wants to be a part of that.

"There was no real rush for me to move to another team," said ZAHA. "All the speculation, I never said anything, I just kept my head down, playing football and I feel like it's the right thing to do. I'm at home here and I'm playing football regularly, I'm enjoying my football so it was a no brainer."

In the Premier League outright odds, Palace can be backed for a finish in the top half of the table at around 5/4, and are not among the sides considered at risk of relegation.

After a disappointing start to the campaign last time out under Frank de Boer, the Eagles finished off well and can build on the late-season form under Hodgson this term.

With speculation regarding ZAHA’s future over, the player can look forward and become a crucial player for Palace. Hodgson’s men could also look towards securing their highest-ever top-flight finish. Up to now, the London club’s best finish in the Premier League was 10th in the 2014/15 campaign.

ZAHA had his greatest season in the top flight last term, and will be looking to build on that. The Ivory Coast international bagged nine goals and seven assists in the league, and played in a more advanced role under Hodgson.

Having improved year-upon-year during his time in the elite English division, big things are expected of ZAHA in the season ahead.

The fact that Sir Alex Ferguson described ZAHA as a player with great potential speaks volumes, as the former Manchester United boss had a keen eye for young talent.

The Palace youth product was ZAHA-11339397"target=_blank>Ferguson’s last signing at Old Trafford before he retired, but he only played two games for the club. The Scotsman went on to say that United were foolish to let ZAHA go when they ultimately sold him back to Palace in 2015.

Palace are likely to line up in a 4-4-2 formation this season under Hodgson, with ZAHA leading the attack alongside Christian Benteke. If the former England manager can also bring the best out of the Belgian, the two could form a devastating partnership. The Eagles only scored 45 goals last time out and they will be hoping to better that this term.

The fact that Palace have been able to keep hold of their best player despite interest from some of the biggest clubs in England shows that the London outfit are on the up. Now, hopefully ZAHA will show that he is worth the improved terms and fire Palace to their highest-ever finish.

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